Mary of Guise
m.1538; wid. 1542
.In many affairs, Mary of Guise consulted her brothers in France – the Cardinal of Lorraine, and , both of whom held government positions – so that Scotland and France worked as allies in dealing with other nations. Henry II's representative in Scotland from 1546 to 1560 was an ambassador resident, , who had been effectively in charge of Scotland during her trip to France. During her regency (1554–60), Frenchmen were put in charge of the treasury, the Great Seal, and the French ambassador sometimes attended the Privy Council. Yves de Rubay was Master of Requests and Keeper of the Seals and Bartholomew de Villemore was Comptroller and Receiver-General of Revenue. Although Cleutin seems to have been universally popular, the resentment of the Scottish nobility at these appointments fuelled the coming crisis.Mary quickly began to deal effectively with Scottish affairs. In July 1554, she travelled to to hold a Justice Ayre for a fortnight, hoping to quell the longstanding feud between the and border clans. She was escorted by armed horsemen commanded by Cleutin. In the Autumn she paid for a ship, troops and a cannon to help the arrest , who had caused mischief in Sutherland. With much less success the Earls of and were despatched to pass with fire and sword to and . Huntly's failure led to his imprisonment. During another progress in 1556 she visited , Ross, , Banff and . These domestic efforts were hampered by the outbreak of international conflict in January 1557. An apparent set-back occurred in October, when Guise went south to and sent an army towards England. Instructed to cross the border and attack Wark Castle, the Scottish lords held their own council at and returned home.Conflict with ProtestantsMain article: Mary's regency was threatened, however, by the growing influence of the Scottish . To an extent, Mary of Guise had tolerated the growing number of Protestant preachers. She needed to win support for her pro-French policies, and they could expect no alternative support from England, when ruled. The marriage of Mary, Queen of Scots, to the dauphin of France on 24 April 1558 was quickly followed by Mary Tudor's death and the succession to the throne of England by on 17 November 1558. Mary Stuart's claim and rights of succession to the English throne depended in part on the Papal view of Elizabeth's legitimacy. If was to pursue Mary's claim with the Pope, as part of an ambitious plan that Scotland and England would succumb to French domination, he needed Scotland to be a secure Catholic country. Some modern historians such as Pamela E. Ritchie believe that the change to Guise's policy was not dramatic, but both Catholic and Protestant would perceive and react to the tense political situation. As the Scottish Reformation crisis was developing, Henry II died on 10 July 1559, and Mary Stuart became Queen Consort of France. In France, Mary and Francis II began to publicly display the arms of England in their blazon. This too was a motivation for English intervention in Scottish affairs.In 1557, a group of Scottish lords who became known as the "", drew up a covenant to "maintain, set forth, and establish the most blessed Word of God and his Congregation". This was followed by outbreaks of in 1558/59. At the same time, plans were being drawn up for a Reformed programme of parish worship and preaching, as local communities sought out Protestant ministers. In 1558, the Regent summoned the Protestant preachers to answer for their teaching, but backed down when lairds from the west country threatened to revolt. Mary's original coat of arms of 1560 in South Leith Parish Church. Scotland impaled with Lorraine.The accession of the Protestant Elizabeth in England in 1558 stirred the hopes and fears of Scottish Protestants. Elizabeth came to secretly support the Lords of the Congregation. In January 1559, the anonymous threatened friars with eviction in favour of beggars. This was calculated to appeal to the passions of the populace of towns who appeared to have particular complaints against friars. Fearing disorder and now determined by circumstance to show less tolerance, the Regent summoned the reformed preachers to appear before her at Stirling on 10 May. Insurrection followed. The men of Angus assembled in Dundee to accompany the preachers to Stirling, and on 4 May they were joined by , who had recently arrived from France. Stirred by Knox's sermons in Perth and Dundee, the mob sacked religious houses (including the tomb of James I in Perth). In response, the Regent marched on Perth, but was forced to withdraw and negotiate when another reformed contingent arrived from the west at .Among the Regent's ambassadors were the and , both professed Protestants. When the Regent stationed French mercenaries in Perth, both abandoned her and joined the Lords of the Congregation at St Andrews, where they were also joined by John Knox. Even Edinburgh soon fell to them in July, as Mary retreated to . The Congregation Lords made a truce with Guise and signed the at on 25 July 1559 which promised religious tolerance, then withdrew to Stirling.In September, Châtelherault, with the safe return of his son, the , accepted the leadership of the and established a provisional government. However, Mary of Guise was reinforced by professional French troops. Some of these troops established themselves at Kinghorn in Fife, and after they destroyed the house of of , according to Knox, Mary declared, "Where is now John Knox's God? My God is now stronger than his, yea, even in ." In November the rebels were driven back to Stirling. Fighting continued in Fife. All seemed lost for the Protestant side until an English fleet arrived in the Firth of Forth in January 1560, which caused the French to retreat to .Negotiations with England then began, from which Knox was excluded; in particular his earlier tract , although it had been aimed at Mary Tudor, rendered him unacceptable to the female English monarch. The resulting in February was an agreement between Châtelherault and the English to act jointly to expel the French. As a result, an English land army joined their Scottish allies in the French at .DeathAfter an English assault on Leith was repulsed with heavy losses, some of the leaders of the Lords of the Congregation came to on 12 May 1560 and had dinner with Mary and the keeper of the castle, . They discussed a plan made before the troubles, that Mary would have travelled to France and met Elizabeth in England, and her brother made Viceroy in Scotland, and the Lords again complained of Frenchmen appointed to Scottish government posts. Negotiations to end the siege of Leith and demolish new fortifications at were continued. The next day the talks ended as permission was refused for the French commanders in Leith to come to the castle to discuss the proposals with Mary.While continuing to fortify Edinburgh Castle, Mary became seriously ill, and over eight days her mind began to wander; some days she could not even speak. On 8 June she made her will and died of on 11 June 1560. Her body was wrapped in lead and kept in Edinburgh castle for several months. In March 1561 it was secretly carried from the castle at midnight and shipped to France. Mary, Queen of Scots attended her funeral at in July 1561. Finally Mary of Guise was interred at the church in the in , where Mary's sister Renée was . A marble tomb was erected with a bronze statue of Mary, in royal robes holding a sceptre and the rod of justice with a hand. The tomb was destroyed during the French revolution. Of Mary's five children, only her daughter survived her.In modern times, such as in 's novel , it has been suggested that Queen ordered Mary's assassination by her, or, as portrayed in the 1998 film , that she was assassinated to protect Elizabeth's interests (without any direct order by the Queen). However, no evidence supports such allegations, and there was an the day after she died. Mary's death was evidently of natural causes, as she herself complained she had become lame from the swelling of her legs in April and diagnosed dropsy. This swelling was confirmed by her enemy, John Knox, who wrote that in May, "began hir bellie and lothsome leggis to swell." Even in the paranoid political climate of the 16th century, in which many royal deaths were suspected to have been murders, no contemporaries saw signs of "foul play" in Mary's death.The Regent's death made way in which France and England agreed to a withdrawal of both their troops from Scotland. Although the French commissioners were unwilling to treat with the insurgent Lords of the Congregation, they offered the Scots certain concessions from King Francis and Queen Mary, including the right to summon a parliament according to use and custom. The effect of the treaty was to leave power in the hands of the pro-English Protestants.